Buried But Still Blooming

The daffodils in the photo below were recently covered in 2 feet of snow.  Our area had a very mild January with the result that daffodil bulbs that should have come up later, grew and bloomed.    Then came the snow, which completely covered them.   After the snow came cold but sunny days and the snow melted, and much to my surprise, they are still blooming even though their stems are bent.  Very tough flowers.


My Anna’s Hummingbird Friend

This is my little Anna’s Hummingbird friend.  He has been either at the feeder or in the Japanese Maple tree guarding the feeder all this winter.   I take the feeder in at night and hang it out around 7:00am and he is usually waiting in the hedge next to the deck where the feeder hangs.  I wonder if this is the same male Anna’s Hummingbird that has been coming for the last couple of years.

Northern Junco, A Yearly Winter Visitor

The Northern Junco is a yearly visitor to my ground bird feeder.  They begin arriving around the end of October and stay through winter.  With all the snow we have had in the last couple of days, there is nothing available for them save for feeders.   They need water as well, but with temperatures hovering near zero Celsius,  water is freezing over.

Below is a Northern Junco which I captured early this morning as it perched in the Japanese Maple tree in the garden above the feeder.   Sometimes they come to our deck looking for food but it’s not a good idea to leave food on the deck.

Another Winter Blast

Since last Friday we have had one snowfall after another and now have about 18 inches.  This is a heavy snowfall for the Cowichan Valley.  As I write it is still snowing.

This morning I went out and took some photos:  the first is the hedge that runs beside our deck.  There is also an icicle on the downspout.

The second is a lawn chair, now buried in the snow.

The third is the path to the ground bird feeder.  It was getting impossible for me to reach it so I asked my husband to shovel a path.  On the left you can see another lawn chair covered in snow.

I hope this is the last of the snowfalls.

Winter Birds: Anna’s Hummingbird, Sparrow on Deck and Ground Feeder

Yesterday we had a lot of snow.   Anna’s Hummingbird has taken to sitting in a Japanese Maple tree keeping guard over the feeder that is on the deck.  I think it would be warmer if it stayed under  cover as the temperature is near 0 celsius but as is its habit, it likes to stand guard.

This morning a House Sparrow decided to stay on the deck rail for a time.  It looks cold, poor thing.

and finally, below is the ground feeder under a dwarf Colorado Blue Spruce.  It is just a board on the ground with a roof above it.  I put seed down three or four times a day.  In this photo are Song Sparrow on the left and Northern Juncos as well.  As you see, the snow is deep around the feeder, yesterday we had 1 foot of snow, more expected today.

The Main Event

The snow of last Friday was just a teaser, today we are having the main event.  I woke up this morning to clear skies and  promised sunshine but a temperature of -6 celsius.  The weather channel promised snow but I thought, surely they had made a mistake.  Wrong!  the clouds moved in and by 1:00pm it was snowing.  Now almost 3 hours later, we have had 4 inches.  I don’t know what that is in metric, this old person still thinks in inches.  Below are two photos taken a few minutes ago, the deciduous trees to the east are barely visible, the snow is that heavy.  I am also posting the view to the west, the same view I posted the other day, but today in the heavier snowfall.  First is to the east.

Second is to the west.

It’s hard to believe that only a few days ago the daffodils were blooming, I guess they are frozen by now.  One thing I do like about the snow is that it is a blanket over the emerging Spring perennials in my garden.  At least the snow is preventing them from freezing.



A Cold Wind

After yesterday’s snowfall, the temperatures are dipping, the wind is blowing, the snow which was wet yesterday has dried out and is blowing around.   I think we might lose the power.  I wish we had a generator because though we do have a fireplace, the rest of the house will get very cold if the power does go out.

I took the photo below of the type of cloud we are having at present.  There is an airplane in the photo, I wonder if they are having any turbulence.  Photo taken from our living room window looking east.

A Winter Wonderland

After what has been a very mild winter thus far,  today we had our second snowfall.  It  is a winter wonderland.   The first photo is to the west, a Fir tree and Garry Oaks.

The second is another photo to the west.  I took this photo mainly because the clouds are breaking and there is some blue sky.  The Garry Oak on the right of the photo is called a “widow maker” because it has a bad lean and one day it is either going to break a limb or fall and might land on the homes below.

The photo below is the east.    Often I take photos of these trees with a pretty sunrise.

Keeping Warm

In the Cowichan Valley of Vancouver Island, we are having our first snowfall of the season.  A hummingbird feeder hangs all year long at the side of our deck, and we have a light which I turn on if the temperature is at or below freezing.  This morning an Anna’s Hummingbird is choosing to rest on the light for warmth.  It did try out sitting on the light itself when I first turned it on, but it was too warm for it so since then it is resting near the turn-on switch.

Below is a closer look at the little fellow.

Flooded Willows

I love the winter color of willows.  This location is usually dry save for a stream running through the back of the willows, but we have had so much rain that the willows and the field beside it are flooded.  The field is below:

The photo above is of the flooded field beside the willows.  This is a corn field in summer.  At this time it is another swimming hole for ducks.

The green areas are of the Somenos dike which was built to hold back the water when the field floods.  Previous to the building of the dike, there was flooding of houses in this area when heavy rains prevailed.  In December of 2018 this area saw many days of heavy rain.  I wonder how much more rain we will have this winter.

Northern Shoveler at Quamichan Lake

The photo above is of a pair of Northern Shovelers.  This dabbling duck is a large species, larger than a Mallard.  I haven’t seen them this close before and was happy to be able to photograph them.

I have been lately bemoaning the fact that many species of over-wintering waterfowl in the Cowichan Valley have not been seen by me the past couple of winters, especially at Quamichan Lake.   It was quite the shock to see several pairs of Northern Shovelers at the lake a couple of days ago.

I haven’t posted on this blog for a long time, and do hope that this post shows up in the Reader so I will be motivated to post here again.

A Red-breasted Sapsucker Visitor

A Red-breasted Sapsucker visited our back yard yesterday.  He was high up the Deodara tree when this photo was taken and you can’t see his chest so I am also including below a better photo of a Red-breasted Sapsucker that was taken near the Cowichan River.  The one in the tree was not interested in coming to the feeder but it was a treat to see it in the yard.

They are such brilliantly colored birds with great feather definition.  The one in the above photo was not shy at all,  it was at eye level near the path and I could almost walk up to it.  The photo below is a closer look at it taken while it went about its business.

For more information on Red-breasted Sapsuckers follow this link at All About Birds:


Monochrome Monday: Trumpeter Swans at Somenos Marsh

During winter Trumpeter Swans are a large part of my blogging being one of my favorite subjects during the time they are here in the Cowichan Valley.  For that reason, today’s Monochrome Monday post are a group of 5 Trumpeter Swans entering the flooded Somenos Marsh.

Moonrise New Years Eve

Just a few photos of tonight’s beautiful moonrise through trees.  These photos were taken a few seconds apart.  As the clouds moved away from the moon it became much brighter.  I think that #3 is my favorite but I like the first one as well.

Female Common Goldeneye

The photo above is of a female Common Goldeneye whose appearance is much different from the male.  This photo was taken at the river bank above Cowichan River located on the Native Reserve, a great place for over-wintering ducks and Trumpeter Swans.

Below is the photo I posted a few days ago of two male Common Goldeneye, that post was entitled Two of a Kind.  Posting it again to show the difference between male and female.


Winter Baby

This little Winter baby is the young deer featured as the icon for this blog.  This photo was taken last winter from the gate of a large farm with fields and woodlands.  The pale background is snow.  The young deer was standing in shade and watched me as long as I stood in place.  She was far enough away that a flash would not have had any effect.  I didn’t see Mother but as the farm is quite large she could have been somewhere else, I hope so.   The area where this farm is located is still very rural, places that have not sold out to developers.  I hope that it remains so for the foreseeable future.

Compelled to Feed the Anna’s Hummingbird

The male Anna’s Hummingbird in the photo above was a regular visitor to my feeder last winter.  What a time it was with bubble wrapping the feeder and then hanging a light nearby to keep it warm because it was such a cold winter (for the Cowichan Valley anyway).  This year I told myself that I was not going to go through that stress of worrying about keeping the feeder from freezing.  As time has gone on and I keep hearing the Hummingbird clicking from the Deodara tree or seeing it on the lilac bush near where the feeder used to hang, or flying through the deck checking out a wind chime with a bird on it,  yesterday I could stand it no longer and hung the feeder up albeit in a different spot.  I was compelled to feed them again.  Now it is hanging under the roof on our deck where it cannot be rained or snowed on and where I hope it might be kept from direct freezing air.  It only took about 15 minutes and I saw a Hummingbird feeding from it.  Unlike where the feeder was hanging before, now I can see it through a window from a chair in which I read or watch TV.   Hopefully I will be able to photograph it through the window.


A Bald Eagle for Christmas Day

This was another “stop the car” moment for me.  While crossing over a little bridge near the Cowichan Estuary I saw this Bald Eagle on a low branch of a tree.  He was eye level to me not too far away.  Husband stopped the car the other side of the bridge and I walked back and took several photos of which none of them turned out to my dismay.  After I took those photos I walked around to where I could see the eagle through the trees from the road leading to the estuary and took several more photos.  This was the only one where the eagle is clear.  I considered it a wonderful Christmas Day gift as I usually see these eagles high up in trees.

It wasn’t but a few minutes after taking this photo that we crossed a bridge of the Cowichan River where I photographed the Trumpeter Swans featured several posts back.

Two of a Kind

These two male Common Goldeneye were pleased to be in each other’s company.  The one on the left is larger, I wonder if they are related?  The female (not shown) is a completely different color, brown with an auburn head.  She will be featured in a separate post.

Fresh Snow on Mt. Provost

It’s not often that we see snow on Mt. Provost.  This photo was taken from the estuary at Cowichan Bay.   Some say that when there is snow on this mountain, it will snow in the valley a couple of days later.  In our experience of  6 years living here, that usually proves accurate.

A Closer Trumpeter Swan at Cowichan River

Today was a “stop the car” day.  Driving over a secluded bridge on the Cowichan Reserve I saw a group of Trumpeter swans not far away from the bridge near the bank of the river.  Since we had snow last night the parking places were quite tricky to get out in and out of as they are down a little hill but I left husband to that while I walked down to the river bank to try to get a decent photo.

In the photo above you can see a drake Mallard to the left of the swan.  It never ceases to amaze me how large these swans are.

Below is the same swan with two juveniles.  The same Mallard is there plus a Herring gull.

Swans being swans, when a person stays too long watching them they just slowly head down river.  Below is the start of them leaving with a male Common Merganser near.

In the next photo the swans in the above photo join a few more and soon they are out of camera range.  With Trumpeter Swans it is all a matter of timing, plus never going out for a drive without your camera.